Friday, 17 October 2014

You couldn’t make it up…

If it were a novel about a large city struggling to deliver children’s services, people would say that it lacked credibility. But it has actually happened; Birmingham’s new director has quit .... before she’s even started.

That’s the kind of thing that seems to haunt organisations that are down on their luck. One bad event seems to lead to another: a vicious downward spiral, perhaps.

Part of the problem is that ‘leaders’ are probably looking outside the organisation for a quick fix; searching possibly for a magic bullet of a director, a turnaround wiz kid, an expert in ‘repositioning’ and ‘transformation’, 're-engineering' perhaps. The clichés could go on and on.

The truth is that changing a few posh bums on a few posh seats is unlikely to do more than make money for the people who paint signs on doors. I bet there are plenty of people who already work for Birmingham who could tell us a lot about what is wrong – if they were allowed to do so. I bet they could put a lot right, if they were allowed to.

But they won’t be allowed to, because their leaders see them as part of the problem, not part of the solution. I expect they know that and so they will be keeping their heads down, mired in learned helplessness waiting for something to happen…

In the meantime the well-paid occupants of the big plush offices come and go.